CBS 13 investigates meth in Maine
STATEWIDE (WGME) -- A dangerous and deadly drug that was once only a problem in other parts of the country, is making its way to Maine. State police tell us drug agents are dealing with a record number of methamphetamine labs, and the growing problem is costing all of us
"We always felt New England was immune from the meth scourge in the Southeast and Midwest. Meth is here in the state ... It's concerning on a whole host of levels," Director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Roy McKinney said.
He sat down with CBS 13 to go over the numbers. Just two years ago, drug agents had to deal with six meth labs. That more than doubled in 2012 and then set a new record last year with 20. McKinney says they're preparing for twice as many this year.
While most of the meth incidents last year were in Aroostook County, the labs are spread out all across the state and moving closer to more urban areas, like Portland.
McKinney says we're seeing more meth in Maine because cooks are finding easier ways to make it. All you need is a soda bottle and a few common household items.
The most recent meth lab bust was in late November at an apartment building in Biddeford. Police arrested 28-year-old Joshua Jernquist.
"The problem is these are very dangerous. They are highly explosive. Not properly done, they will explode as a fireball," Dr. Mark Publicker said.
Publicker not only treats people with meth addiction, he's also done extensive research on the impact of the drug on communities and users.
"People have less ability to think, plan, exercise judgment and block, inhibit painful emotions and harmful behaviors," Publicker explained.
On top of a decreased sense of security on our streets and neighborhoods, there's an increased cost hitting police. The MDEA reports every meth clean-up costs $5,000-$15,000.
The state Office of Substance Abuse is stepping up its Maine Meth Watch program to keep the problem from spiraling out of control. The goal is to raise awareness about meth and the signs of use and abuse.
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